Written by John
book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical people,
events or places are used fictitiously. Any other names, places,
events or characters are products of the author's imagination. Any
resemblance to actual places, events or persons, living or dead, is
2017 John Michael Davis
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this book in any form. For more information, please email
edition March 2017
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published as Immortal
Other books by
John Macallen Davis:
and Spears Kindle
Blood War Kindle
Great War Kindle
of the Fear Kindle
like to tell you a story.
This is a story that
was told to me by my dying grandfather. Upon visiting him in the
Carrington Place, which is a home for adults in Virginia, he began
bestowing onto me information that would prove to change my life.
While my cousins would receive his personal belongings, my
grandfather said he was giving me the greatest gift of all.
was his favorite.
I always had been,
honestly. As a child, he had taken to me. I can remember countless
days of watching football with him on the couch. He would always
explain that the game of football was very similar to the art of war,
without the intrigue that often took place behind the front lines of
war. I didn't know what that meant at the time. Now I do.
other kids came around as well, but they usually went off somewhere
to play, like typical children did before the internet was
mainstream. Meanwhile, I saw fascination in my grandfather's eyes. He
always told the best stories. My friends learned of World War 2 out
of necessity – forced to learn its history by high school
learned through my grandfather's stories. He often weaved it all
together like a good novel and I would gobble it up; listening as I
hung from his every word.
in life as my cousins all moved on, only visiting him once a year
during the Christmas season – I remained. While I did
join the United States Army, I stayed in close contact with my
family, which included my grandfather. After eight years of service
to my country, I returned home to find him aging quite fast. I cared
for him as best I could, when
there was a look of past adventure in his eyes.
sad to report that my grandfather went to be with the Lord on
2017. But before he did, the man who'd taught me about the second
great war divulged a secret onto me that would forever change my
Hitler was alive.
know what you must think, as I thought it too. But a dying
grandfather has no need to lie about such things. Especially given
the way he grabbed my shirt and tried his best to make me believe. I
saw desperation. I believe that everyone who faces their ultimate
demise has something to finish. And my grandfather's was this.
was our last conversation and he made me swear to seek out the truth.
He had seen Adolf Hitler with his own eyes and narrowly escaped with
his life. That was back in 1981, according to my grandfather. I can't
say that I fully believed him at the time, but I did believe that he
believed it. And that was enough for me.
cousins, all of whom were distant when it came to our grandfather,
received money and titles to his vehicles and sums of cash. His
daughter Clarice, who hadn't been to visit him in nearly two decades,
was given his large house. Complete with seventeen acres of land, a
falling barn and some of the prettiest scenery you could imagine. It
was picturesque perfect for a life in the deep south.
a shit deal.
was straddled with some memory of what he'd seen or what he'd thought
he'd seen, along with a leather journal. The type of journal that
could have been bought on the cheap at any decent office supply
I left that retirement home my heart told me that I'd never see him
again; a man that I had grown to respect and truly look up to. And
he'd shafted me in the end.
had half a mind to throw the damn journal away as soon as I got back
home. It was only a two-hour drive – I'd still be pissed when I
had he deliberately given me the shit end of the stick? I was the
only person outside of his official caretaker to actually care,
and she'd been paid
to do it. My concern was authentic. It wasn't the worldly possessions
themselves – I had enough money. It was the insult
of it. My other relatives didn't care about Grandpa Carter. He was a
smart man, surely he knew that they didn't care.
had to be another reason...and there was.
I discovered when I began reading the journal.
My grandfather had
always been obsessed with the study of World War 2. He'd only been a
child during the great war, but I can remember countless times when
he'd sit alongside me and begin telling me about the greatest battles
and their outcomes. Even the romances of field generals and
According to his
journal, Grandpa Carter first read of Hitler's survival beyond World
War 2 through a small media outlet in Argentina. Just as I hadn't, or
you don't – my grandfather didn't believe what he'd read. It
wouldn't be the first time a hoax had been given even the slightest
ounce of credibility in the media world.
A man claiming to have
received money in exchange for helping one of the worst dictators in
modern day history escape, could also name his accomplices. Moreover,
he provided several key pieces of paperwork as proof, along with a
small tin box filled with pictures of the man he claimed to be
Hitler. Though aged, the man in the pictures' look was unmistakable.
My grandfather had made
his money. Aside from distant family, he was alone in this world –
alone with the curiosity that resides in so many of us. So my
grandfather left for Argentina in order to seek out a man named Adolf
Leipzig – presumably Hitler.
noted that the FBI themselves were also looking into the numerous
eyewitness accounts coming from Argentina. And while their own
investigations came up empty, my grandfather, a retired detective,
claimed he knew where and how
to go about it.
it so hard to believe that Russian, at that time Soviet Union troops,
rushed to declare Hitler dead? There would certainly be honor in
finding the most hated man in the world. It's possible. If Hitler had
the foresight to understand this, then using body doubles which he'd
been known to use, probably would have satisfied the Soviets
imagine the leaders of the Soviet Union, which had lied on previous
occasions, coming to the realization that the real
Hitler had somehow slipped through their grasp. Is it so hard to
believe that they would again lie to their own people in order to
deliver Hitler in the proverbial sense and save face in the process?
grandfather didn't think so.
months at a time, he would leave the beautiful countryside of North
Carolina and head to Argentina. Within the journal pages were
receipts to testify to the fact. And then, by his own admission, he
had frozen up during a chance encounter with Hitler while staying in
Argentina and preparing to return home.
was absolutely no mistaking it,
he'd written. It was Adolf
described Hitler as being much older, but still walking on his own.
His hair had lost most of its color, but his soulless eyes remained.
Several mysterious men accompanied him. Enough so, that my
grandfather was fearful of approaching him. Instead, he chose to
place his own life at risk in following them from the gas station in
under the timid light of the moon, my grandfather watched the man he
believed to be Hitler and his escorts, walk into a large tree inside
of the seclusion of thick Argentinian forest. My grandfather waited
for nearly an hour before easing closer to investigate. It was no
tree at all, but rather a doorway.
grandfather wasn't sure. Shortly after returning home he began to
grow ill and though he fought like hell for many years, it was an
illness that would ultimately claim his life. He'd not return to
Argentina, except in his own mind.
behind the wide smile of a man that I truly respected, was the belief
that one day I would be ready to resume his own life's work. He'd
included a map with vivid detail and just as important, a set of
numbers followed by a second set of numbers. I would later match them
to a bank account in Argentina worth exactly $2,871,090. According to
Argentinian standards, his account was worth nearly 40 ½
million pesos. I'm not sure where this money came from and honestly I
to know. The fact was...my grandfather had been living a second life
in hopes of catching Hitler.
almost collapsed when I realized how much money sat in the bank
accounts. I could have taken the money and done whatever I saw fit
with it, but my grandfather's instructions were to use the money in
order to find Hitler, or his whereabouts. It seems that I was the
only realitive he trusted – I shared his love of the second
of brand new cars and even houses bounced around in my head. I was
single – never married. I could have easily purchased a yacht
and filled it with good booze and women with ample tits. Easily.
my grandfather had struck a match to my own interest, just as he'd
done so many times before when I was a child, peddling his stories of
great heroes and marvelous escapes. The types of stories that I
believe are dying too quickly, with the veterans who served during
the war, now stranded in a generation that too easily forgets. I
suppose that's why my Grandpa Carter left the journal to me, rather
than to another family member. Perhaps he saw the same thirst of
adventure in my eyes.
was at least obligated to give my grandfather's wishes an honest
effort. I would conduct one search and give it due diligence. Then,
if I was unable to turn up anything on the mysteries of Hitler, I
would use the money to pay off my own home, upgrade my car and begin
looking into that yacht filled with nude women.
But before I headed to Argentina,
I'd need a plan.
trusted them with my life.
Shelton and Mitch “Macho” Harris. Childhood friends and,
more importantly, men of military service, just like myself.
Macho said. “You've lost it.”
know what it sounds like...” I began.
you?” he asked. “Because to me, it sounds like you want
us to go trampling around through Argentina looking for a man that's
been dead for decades.”
took the criticism; it was the least I could do.
turned my attention to the larger of the two. Hunter was as
well-framed as a man could be. He lifted weights on a regular basis –
he lifted at home. Hunter had always made it a point to tell me that.
Gyms were full of tanning lotion and beautiful women, and that pissed
him off. Not that he didn't like the idea of women, but rather the
disrespect for man against weights. For him, it was a ritual of
becoming a man.
Macho was anything but
macho. He'd earned the nickname in high school after standing up to
two football players and getting his ass kicked in the process. Macho
was as mouthy as the day was long but barely stout enough to hold his
own britches up. He also happened to be good with guns. He had been
quite the sportsman prior to his military service and they had
doubled his proficiency with a decent gun.
Hunter began. The North Carolina breeze did little to sway the buzzed
hair atop his head as his mind pondered my offer. “Could be
trouble if they catch us bringing weapons into the country. We're
trouble. But I'm in.”
Macho couldn't believe it.
neither could I.
way I figure it,” Hunter replied. “Jack's a friend and
he'd do the same for us. I'm not saying I believe the scumbag is out
there somewhere, alive...but friends help friends. So yea, I'm in.”
turned my attention away from the former U.S. Army infantryman and
back to our thin friend.
shit,” Macho grumbled. “The Panthers play the Cowboys on
Sunday. I want to be back to watch the game.”
smiled, understanding that it was as close to saying yes
as he'd get.
Over the course of the
next two hours, the three of us began making a list of things we'd
need for the trip to Argentina. Most of the supplies would need to be
purchased after we landed, otherwise there would be a hell of a lot
of explaining to do when we hit customs. Printed information on Adolf
Hitler, a bag filled with sidearms and rum soaked cigars would draw
the wrong kind of attention.
cigars...all Macho's idea.
first impression of Argentina was the fact that it was absolutely
After my bout with love
at first sight came the realization that I wasn't in the United
States anymore. We arrived in Buenos Aires and it was a rather large
city, which came complete with the normal problems that large cities
face. Buses sped through the streets much faster than I was used to
and the sidewalks were heavily cracked. Plus, as I painfully
discovered, the ATM machines were few and far between.
I was essentially a
millionaire with no means of getting my money. The few places we
found had strict limits on how much cash could be withdrawn. Setting
us back even further and factoring in perfectly with the bitching.
this heat.” Macho complained.
summertime.” Hunter replied.
in Buenos Aires.”
can hit me with all of this complicated talk until you're blue in the
face,” Macho said. “All I know is it's fucking hot.”
take a cab around the city and pretend to be sight seeing. Meanwhile,
we each looked for a suitable hotel that was located within walking
distance of any stores that we thought might sell the type of
equipment we needed.
we stopped at the Buenos Aires Grand Hotel. It was very nice. Even
Macho couldn't find anything to complain about, which was unusual.
He'd quickly gotten out of his traveling clothes and slipped his
skinny frame into an overstuffed hotel robe.
best if we go in one at a time,” Hunter said. “It'll look
a lot less suspicious if we're not buying everything on this list in
a single haul.”
agreed with a nod. A part of me felt like a common criminal, although
we were doing nothing illegal. But our intent was to go off and
search for possibly the most notorious man in the history of the
world. That carried weight and for a moment, I felt that weight
bearing down on me.
deep, I readied myself to go shopping.
plan was a simple one. We'd arrived around midday, which was the
hottest time of the day and the root of Macho's bitching. I would go
into a large store that stood at the opposite end of the city block
and casually gather a third of the things on our list. Later, just as
the sun began to set, Hunter would go in and do the same. We'd both
pose as tourists with no knowledge of the other. Macho was to go in
the following morning and complete the list.
from the hotel lobby, we'd flag down a taxi and make our way to the
edge of the city. We'd use the excuse of hiking, which we'd surely be
doing a lot of. There was approximately seven miles of terrain to
cover on foot once we left the city. From there, according to my
grandfather's map, we'd encounter a relatively thick forest and upon
locating a double waterfall, the tree would be visible.
that...we had nothing.
more I kicked the idea around in my head, the more it felt like we
were chasing fool's gold. For nearly an hour, I fought the urge to
quit and go back home. Hell, I was rich!
What need did I have for proving my grandfather right?
then I remembered he surely had felt the same way. I began to
remember myself as a child, seated next to my grandfather as he told
me stories of the great war.
had crossed his path and changed the work of his life in the process.
Finding Hitler and proving it to the world had become my
grandfather's obsession in his later years. There had to be something
to his theory. I knew my grandfather well enough to know that he
wouldn't have chased this theory of his without good reason.
wouldn't have chased fool's gold.
I swallowed my pride and went shopping.
the trip itself had been just as uneventful as I had hoped, a large
truck nearly struck me down in the street near in front of the hotel.
And it would have been my own fault. The large bag of supplies had
hoarded just enough of my vision to let me walk recklessly in front
of the truck, who's driver looked pissed as he drove past.
returned to the hotel with a bag filled with flashlights, ample
batteries, a week's supply of dry socks, three blankets, a lock-blade
knife, a case of bottled water, gloves and boots, both leather.
looked like Santa Claus carrying that bag of shit down the street.”
Macho laughed. And I expected it.
of the heavy stuff is on your
list.” I replied.
his wide smile turned to the frown of a lottery loser. There would be
no grand fortune as he scratched his proverbial ticket, only a bad
back and a continuing hatred for the sweltering heat.
Hunter's haul would go
in much the same way that evening. He, too, looked like a jolly man
with a sack of toys draped across his shoulder, though I dare say the
carried them much better than I had.
As he returned, the
city of Buenos Aires was beneath a full moon and paper thin clouds,
which only added to the experience.
had I been thinking? I'd somehow managed to drag my friends halfway
around the globe in search for history's most ruthless dictator when
I should have stayed home and made plans. I'd been given a
money. Spending it wisely would surely be no easy task. Yet here I
was, looking across the shiny railing that boxed our large balcony
was the Grand Hotel's largest suite, but I'd not paid heavily for it.
It had taken nearly a thousand pesos to fetch the massive room,
roughly sixty-three bucks, and the room looked like something from a
movie. The floor was made of shiny wood that barely showed any age,
while two couches rested in perfect positioning to one another. One
was a sectional, the other was very long. There was a community table
in what served as the kitchen area and it, too, looked like something
that had been plucked straight from a home design magazine.
above all else, the balcony spoke to me.
very hard to explain, but outside in that fresh Argentinian air,
beneath a hovering moon that brimmed with neon white, I felt my
grandfather's presence. While my two friends tried their best to
watch local television on the large flat screen mounted to the living
room wall, pretending
to understand what was being said. Hunter spoke a bit of Spanish, but
certainly not enough to follow the soap opera in front of them. Macho
spoke nothing – broken English, on his best day. I supposed he
was just watching in hopes of catching a glimpse of nudity. He'd
never shied away from his lust for women. The damning fact was that
women had a way of shying away from him.
so, with beers lined up on the coffee table in front of them, my two
most trusted friends watched on. Not me. My own skin crawled with
nervousness and my gut instinct was that we were about to become part
of something incredible.
map itself was crude and there were what I believed to be hidden
clues throughout my grandfather's journal. But it had been the look
on my grandfather's face that had sold me on the idea. I saw
adventure – I saw fear.
the remainder of the evening, I would pray. Right there on the
massive balcony beneath my feet, I would ask that God watched over us
and, if my grandfather could somehow hear me, that he would point us
into the right direction.
next morning seemed to pick up in an instant. From nowhere, the
streets of Buenos Aires were once again filled with bodies on their
way to and from. We'd becoming nothing more than three more tourists,
in a manner of speaking.
and a half,
if you included the massive sack on the back of our scrawny-legged
friend. He looked like a small ant carrying a full-brown apple –
nearly pushing him to the ground entirely as his legs bowed out under
the pressure. The list had been a long one, but not that
long. I suspected that our good friend had added a few extra items
ask.” Macho said.
we didn't have to. The sound of glass bottles clanging around was
enough to clue us in on the fact that he'd fetched a good amount of
booze. And while we'd tried to limit our list to only the essentials,
I knew that Macho would only argue the fact. He'd claim the booze was
in case of an emergency toothache or something. Plus, he'd followed
me halfway around the world. So I let it go.
cab had been easy enough to spot. It was solid black until you
reached the top, which became bright yellow. And they were literally
everywhere. It didn't take very long to hold a hand in the air and
have a cab screech to a halt. Though it did take almost ten full
minutes to pack our belongings into the cab's trunk.
driver was nice enough, yet very quiet. The cab itself smelled of
heavy beef and noodles, which could have been seen as good or
bad, depending. Most importantly, the driver had a pistol holstered
near the car's transmission shifter.
had taken nearly thirty minutes for the driver to get us to the spot
we needed to be – just a few miles outside of the city, but far
enough that it looked distant. It took only thirty seconds or so to
convince the driver to sell us the pistol.
first, he didn't understand. Hunter spoke very bad Spanish and he was
the best of our bunch. But after pointing to the pistol and then to
the landscape we'd be hiking, I held a wad of money up and ready.
Approximately fourteen-hundred pesos, which is all that we had left.
The rest sat comfortably in the bank somewhere and besides, we'd no
use for cash in the countryside of Argentina.
driver eagerly took the money and it didn't take us long to figure
out why. The revolver looked as though it were centuries old. It
appeared to be some sort of military revolver with splashes of Old
West influence thrown in. The handle was made of scarred wood and the
gun itself was dingy blue steel.
came with six rounds.
the driver was exuberant about getting the money. He sped away so
quickly that a thick cloud of dust romped us away from where we
stood. He'd been grinning like an idiot throughout his drive away. A
point that Macho didn't care for.
knock that damn smile from his face when I see him again.”
then spit a mouthful of dust and forming mud from his mouth and
continued to stare at the cab, which had now gotten far enough away
to be forgotten.
should go. There's a long hike in front of us.” I said.
right. We need to get moving.” Hunter added.
nodded, finally turning away from the small cab and the large trail
of dust it had left behind.
carrying all the shit?”
hike had taken hours. It had been much harder than any of us had
anticipated. Especially for Hunter, who carried the bulk of the heavy
supplies, while Macho bitched beneath the lightest load.
we came onto a double waterfall, it didn't take us long to rest our
supplies onto the ground and stand with exhaustion. Still, the sight
of two towering waterfalls was one of pure magnificence. The faint
sound of splashing water quickly grew into a thunderous roar and only
seemed to add to what felt like a magical moment for me personally.
rested himself onto the ground with a cigar to his lips. The massive
smoke stick could have doubled as an elephant's tusk, had it been
white. Moments later, with sweat pooling on his forehead, Macho laid
back down in the tall grass and drew deep breaths, cursing beneath
his breath and smoke rose up.
wouldn't do that if I were you.” I said.
the fuck are you talking about?” Macho didn't seem too
a bolt of lightning hit my friend? Macho jumped to his feet with a
look of fear haunting his eyes. He'd never been that fond of the
never said anything about snakes.”
it is Argentina,”
Hunter laughed. “Besides, we need to get our packs in order
before we head out.”
out...we just stopped?” Macho whined.
heard the bickering as I panned my set of binoculars around slowly.
Nothing seemed out of place. There were no observation decks for
tourists around the waterfalls. They were much too small for that.
But there were two,
just as my grandfather's journal had sworn, and the surrounding area
according to his hand-drawn map was spot on. Grandpa Carter had been
here before. There was no doubting the fact.
did what I could to position myself according to his map. Then, I
began looking into the general direction of what he'd claimed had
been a hidden tunnel of some sort. A part of me had thought my
grandfather had slipped into lunacy during his older years. That was
the most logical explanation. But the other part of me wanted to find
this tunnel of his. I wanted to believe
that the impossible was in fact...possible.
are few moments in life when you know.
at your first child in the minute that it's born, you know your place
in life. Soul mates know one another at first glance. When a man or
woman gets right with God above – they know.
These are the types of moments I will use to describe it.
my eyes caught sight of a very large tree – I knew.
was surrounded by others and I had nearly missed it. In fact, I would
have missed it, had I not been looking for it. The tree in questions
was slightly different in both shade and texture. Its brown was
paler. Its bark was too shiny.
first, neither of my friends saw the difference between the tree in
question and the hundreds more around it. Perhaps I
was slipping into lunacy as well.
right,” Hunter said. Staring hard through the binoculars while
easing my mind a bit. “There's something off about it.”
like a damn tree to me.” Macho testified.
much like a tree,” Hunter disputed. “I don't see any
flaws or imperfections. There are no vines hanging. The trees around
it have plenty.”
let's go, then.” Macho demanded.
packs first.” I said.
to Hunter, I was OK with him keeping the pistol. He nodded in return
and tucked it behind him, beneath the waist of his jeans.
can't carry all of this water.” Hunter said.
I agreed. “We'll need to take a few bottles each and leave the
rest. We need to focus on things that will help us. Things like rope
Macho said proudly. “Ain't nobody trying to die.”
wanted to laugh and I would
have, if not for my nerves. Instead, each of us packed our own bag,
which was a professional grade hiking pack. We each took a hand ax,
very high quality pocket knife and, of course, Hunter had the pistol.
We agreed on three bottles of water each, along with a fistful of
meal replacement bars and plenty of batteries. It didn't leave us
much room for anything else, but we each took something we believed
would be of use. Hunter took a small fire starting kit, I took a
bundle of rock climbing rope, along with the clasps, and Macho took
two bottles of sherry and a hard box of cigars.
toothaches.” he insisted.
getting ourselves together, we rested for an hour or so. Keeping a
very close eye on the tree in the process. Finally, we mustered
enough courage to begin walking toward the large tree and did so with
the utmost caution.
arriving, it seemed very normal. But Hunter spiked our caution as he
dug his knife into the bark of the tree. Removing a small piece of
the brittle bark exposed solid steel! This was no tree at all, but
rather a doorway of some type. Just as my grandfather had sworn.
found an elevator.
was the type of elevator that you'd normally find in a large factory.
A cargo elevator with two sets of doors that would have taken
dynamite in order to breach. In this case, they stood open and
waiting. With only a single button on its interior, the elevator
seemed to invite us; if not taunt us.
entered, followed by myself and then Macho. We stood there in silence
for at least a minute solid. I watched as clouds passed over,
reminding me of the prettiest sky I'd ever seen. Fresh air brushed
against us. I wondered exactly how long it would be before my lungs
drenched themselves in air this fresh again.
a deep sigh and a silent nod from each of my friends, I pressed the
large green button and watched as both sets of steel doors closed by
themselves. There were several openings which allowed us to look
outside of the elevator, which only added to the peril of the
fell at a rate of speed that would be hard to estimate. Damn
I imagined Macho thought. He'd certainly be right. The elevator
dropped swiftly enough for my lunch to begin making its way back up.
Hunter held the walls as best he could and Macho squatted in the
corner. Refusing to look, like a child cowering from the boogeyman.
passed by the small windows of the elevator at first. Then dirt,
accompanied by large white lights. If the elevator would have been an
airplane, it would have fallen from the sky fifty times over, and at
about the same speed.
after coming to the end of what I'd believed to be our very last
moments alive, Macho, Hunter and I loosened our grips of the thick
railing inside of the elevator, which began stopping as it had been
the doors opened, each of us sprinted out of the deathtrap and
staggered with disorientation, splashing into a large body of water.
water that a person could fathom. My heart nearly exploded; burst,
even, as my lungs began to gasp for breath in instinctive fashion.
the hellacious ride down, I cannot say how long it took me to swim
ashore. Less than a minute, all things considered, though it seemed
like an eternity against the torture of freezing cold water. My mind
worried for my friends – my body collapsed against the bed of
soft clay that surrounded the cold water.
eyes took in a most intriguing sight.
ceiling of the cave, or whatever
we had discovered, glowed iridescent blue. Not slightly, but with
utter magnificence. It rivaled the brightest sky I had ever seen, yet
it was no sky at all. Nothing more than hard rock.
moments later, my vision was brought to attention by a large black
blur of movement. The kind that is indistinguishable, yet telling.
My body was too
exhausted to jump alive. As I turned my head, I could see Macho
laying in pretty much the same condition – watching as Hunter
rose to his feet and began defending himself. He'd always been the
strongest of the three.
know what you must be thinking, yet I must speak the truth. These
were ape men in every fashion imaginable, and they wore shiny armor.
There must have been at least fifty of these beasts and we were
completely at their mercy, there was no getting around it. But Hunter
would not be convinced of it.
good friend put up one hell of a fight, lashing punches onto the
closest ape man and eventually drawing our only pistol – firing
onto several of them and ending them. Shortly after, Hunter was
ended, too. Bludgeoned to death by thick wood. The weapons were
designed in much the same fashion that a ball bat would have been,
only much thicker and very crude in appearance. At first, Hunter's
hand went up with defense. Eventually it fell. He was dead,
yet the creatures continued to wail on his body for several minutes.
now, I was up to my feet. Preparing to enter into the same fate.
of the ape men uttered something loudly. Its language was unlike
anything I'd heard before. Tribal, yet advanced. I presumed this
beast was trying to warn me, in fact, I bet my life on it. I held a
hand out and knelt down. Praying that it was not the end for me.
could hear several of the ape men conversing and it sounded like an
argument, in all honesty. Two of their own lay as dead as Hunter, in
a pool of their own thick red blood. As one of them approached,
perhaps a superior among their people, I closed my eyes.
creature began to spout off words to me, yet I could not understand.
understand its demeanor. Anger...frustration.
can't understand you.” I said with apology.
beast looked me up and down. Eventually spouting off more derelict
language. Then, as abruptly as it had confronted me, the monster
walked away. Its subordinates would soon place my hands in shackles,
as well as my neck. They were not kind in doing so, either, and I did
not care. The rough manner in which they shackled me was a far better
fate than death. I was simply happy to be alive.
watched as the ape men searched our bags and even Hunter's body.
Then, having shackled us both together, we were chained together
closely enough that I could smell the rank cigar smoke on Macho's
skin. I'd no idea what this place was, but I did
know that it was something undiscovered. A world within our own
world, miles below the surface.
of the beasts shoved me in the back with a threatening manner.
Therefore, against my will, I began to walk. Realizing that I may
never again be able to find my way back to the elevator which had led
us to this subterranean hell.
had marched for several hours without pause, finally stopping to rest
on a series of large rocks near an ocean. Was it a real
ocean? That wasn't for me to decide. But it looked real enough.
Waves of cold water crashed ashore and as far as the eye could see,
buckles of water swirled about. As I looked to the sky, or cave
ceiling in this case, it now seemed further out of reach than the sky
of cotton clouds that I last remembered over the city of Buenos
Aries. If this were only a cave, it was indeed the largest on record.
I believe it was much more than that. For all intent and purposes,
this place seemed vaster than my own world, which rested miles above
us. The luminous blue stone was everywhere, giving a slightly
brighter atmosphere than I had grown to expect back on the surface.
place was inconceivable, yet real.
first learned of its true vastness the moment that I noticed other
ape men began bringing their own captured to our position. Not one
group, or even two; but rather enough groups that I could not count
them on both hands. The ape men now easily numbered in the hundreds
and the captured, myself included, were at least fifty or so.
could see the ape man who'd looked me over, speaking to another. It
seemed apologetic and for a moment, the other glanced into my
direction. It was certainly explaining how two of their own had been
then, beneath the scorching light of these mysterious blue stones, I
caught sight of the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. From my
home back in the United States to my travels around the world, I had
never laid eyes on a woman so utterly complete.
colored hair flowed down to the bottoms of her shoulders. And while
she was clothed in tattered white material, her flawless curves were
still visible. In fact, as I quickly began to discover, most of the
slaves were virtually perfect in every way. They were lean –
muscular, even. Their looks could have been viewed as beautiful or
handsome, respectively. But this particular woman had eyes that were
the most brilliant of browns that I'd ever seen. Her look froze me,
in a manner of speaking, as my heart would not allow my mind to
concentrate. I had
to know more about her.
name is Tara.” a strange voice said.
turned to this nearby captive with utter surprise.
speak my language?”
it was partially broken and heavy with slang, this complete stranger
spoke well enough to be understood.
course. We are all Brapok, are we not?”
did everything in my power to explain to my new friend that I was not
of this world. Well, perhaps in the technical
sense I was, but my world above was much different than the one my
feet now trode.
do not believe me?” I asked.
is not that I do not believe you,” he replied. “But I
have never seen anyone like us who was not a Brapok, other than the
look like we do, but are highly militarized. Often, they wear black
and carry weapons of wonder. Some call them magic.”
can I find these feared?”
looked upon me with the eyes of madness.
do not find the feared – they find you.
And may the gods be with you if that ever happens. These bonds that
enslave us to the Gorgum are child's play compared to what the feared
would do to us.”
Gorgum?” I asked. Glancing to the ape men.
he replied. “They can be a brutal species at times but more oft
than not, they treat their Brapok slaves with dignity.”
held up his wrists, which, like mine, were in chains.
what they mean to do with us. Caudium was not built in a single day
and it wasn't
built by the hands of Gorgum.”
slaves?” I asked.
he replied. “This world improves because of our hard work and
struggle. But they feed us and allow us to live, so the trade is
hell it is,” I announced. “My friend, Macho.”
lifted his head for a moment. I had never seen my talkative friend so
quiet and imagined that he still thought it to be a dream. And
perhaps it was. But the long march had certainly brought pain to my
mean to escape.”
stranger looked me over closely.
escape possible?” I asked.
he replied. “But it would have to come at the right time. The
Brapok are a mighty race all their own, but what stands beyond the
mountains around us can be far worse. There are unspeakable things.”
cannot defeat them head-to-head.” I admitted.
he replied. “It would take ten slaves to bring down a single
Gorgum. And they outnumber us by a great many. Our escape will need
to be fast and during a period of time when the Gorgum do not expect
we don't make it?” I asked.
they will kill us in the presence of the other slaves as a warning.”
nodded. Pulling myself into deep thought.
is no shame in calling this off.” he said.
glanced to him for a moment, eventually smiling.
say her name is Tara?”
he grinned. “Princess of Odelia.”
he replied. “And I am Lenzu, her sworn protector. We were
besieged by the Gorgum nearly a week ago. Her father commands a
mighty army and they are sure to be searching all of Caudium for
have an army?”
long have you been in Cadium?” Lenzu asked.
a fucking day,” Macho grumbled. Watching as the ape men made
quick work of the liquor he'd brought along. “Damn thieves.”
joined him in watching the Gorgum pass around the spoils of plunder.
Food, cigars and fine alcohol.
much to learn about Caudium.” Lenzu finally replied.
nodded. Finding it increasingly hard to take my eyes off of Tara, the
princess of Odelia and its mighty army.
had only started to realize how vast this underworld known as Caudium
was. But when we began marching once more, that's when I understood
that my eyes, my imagination, even, had only started to scratch the
around us were the sights you would normally expect to see from a
world above. There were no skyscrapers or airplanes cluttering the
sky, granted. But everything else seemed to be as it should have been
in the nineteenth century back where I came from.
were fields of tall grass and heavily wooded areas as far as the eye
could see. In the other direction, water filled the horizon in what I
still believe to be a full-brown ocean. Caudium, or whatever in the
hell this place at the center of our planet was, had proven itself to
be a living, thriving world.
I'm still unsure of the specifics.
spoke to Lenzu as I could during the march, which wasn't often. While
our captors seemed to relax during periods of rest, they were strict
during the march. Lenzu had admitted that even he did not know where
these mysterious glowing stones had first originated. Only that they
were known universally by the people of Caudium as wonderstones.
for the water, one could only speculate that it had been beneath our
surface the entire time. Pooling together in order to form an ocean.
But Lenzu had testified that there were several oceans and lands far
beyond the water. He'd seen them with his own eyes.
what I could see, the weaponry throughout this strange land seemed to
be primitive at best. A few of the Gorgum carried swords, while most
of them carried blunt objects made of wood. Lenzu spoke of projectile
weapons of magic that were in the hands of the feared, and I assumed
he spoke of guns. He also said that the feared were very secretive
and often left no survivors in their wake. The stories he told me had
been passed down through the years and I can only imagine that much
of it was added along the way.
learned of a great war between the Gorgum and the feared. It had
taken place many years ago and while the feared had much better
weaponry, the Gorgum had great numbers. Ultimately, the war had drawn
to a standstill and both sides had gone their own way. Though they
would still engage in battle upon the sight of the other.
spoke of Tara very little, only to say that she'd been a great
princess to her people. Looking upon her, I would have guessed that
Tara was in her early twenties and her eyes, as beautiful as they may
have been, had seen uncounted horrors.
the way, should a captive fall with exhaustion, he or she would be
beaten...sometimes to death. The ape men had no tolerance for
weakness. My legs ached with sharp pains that accompany any long
march without water. More than once I thought about quitting and
taking whatever punishment the Gorgum saw fit. But each time I would
glance over to Macho, who remained quiet and
remained on his feet.
we reached what I believed would be our final destination. A large
castle structure encompassed by several rings of stone. I could see
plenty of ape men patrolling across the flat rings. Water surrounded
much of the castle and there was a heavy sense of military there,
along with hundreds of slaves working in the land around the castle.
we passed by, the slaves would raise their head momentarily. With
curiosity, I suppose, though they wouldn't stop long enough to draw
the attention of their superiors. Perhaps they also felt sorrow for
us. The rest of those with us seemed to look at the castle with
ultimate defeat. They would either live a very short time against the
back breaking work or they would live many years. Either way, they
had no hope of ever leaving. But I looked at this castle with great
curiosity. I, along with my scrawny friend, knew of the world above.
I could not justify remaining a slave for the rest of my life when my
was above ground.
evidence of Hitler was now in the back of my mind. I no longer cared
to discover the truth. Now, my only sense of purpose was doing
whatever I had to do in order to get back to the surface and tell
time among the ape men had not been easy.
While they did feed us
and treat us with the proper amount of respect at times, there were
also many times in which I witnessed the beatings of male slaves,
while the female slaves had been taken to the chambers of those in
charge, without consent.
As best I could figure,
a person's chances of having their time go smoothly depended upon the
guards who oversaw them and the temperament of those guards. I had
been lucky in that respect. The guards posted to us both during
living hours and working hours were mild, whereas many were not.
The work itself was
backbreaking in most cases. Either we'd plow the fields using the
crudest of tools or we'd forge stones into blocks for building using
nothing more than heavy hammers and the sweat of our brows.
I honestly can not tell
you how long I've been among the ape people. Or in this savage land,
for that matter. Here, there is no differential between day or night
– we only have the bright blue glow above us, every single
At times, it has proven
to be maddening. They say that a man does not know what he has until
it has been taken away from him. What I would give for a single night
of darkness! As much as I want to remember my life before we entered
that cursed tree, I cannot. At least not in specific details. I
remind myself of the bright sunshine of Argentina and the thought of
bacon frying back home in the United States. Yet I cannot remember
how it smells. This place had started to strip everything human away
then came the witchers.
I could see it in my
guardsman's eyes as the small horde of hoofed feet came, trailed by a
thick cloud of dust. Not intimidation, nor fear; but a very real
sense of urgency. I saw it across the ape man's face as he looked to
several of his own kind. Each of them bore the same look and
tightened hands to their weapons.
Approaching swiftly on
horseback, seven riders came. Their armor was unique and held many
resemblances to that of dark knights of a much earlier century. Their
leader, as he seemed to be, held a bladed weapon high into the sky
and commanded the other riders to halt. Wings of bone protruded from
their helmets, particularly their leader. After several moments of
staring across the fields with ghostly white eyes, which dared
through a black mask and accompanying red handprint, their leader
dismounted his horse and began taking stock upon us.
The ape men lined the
nearest slaves up, myself included, to be inspected more thoroughly.
Why, I did not know.
leader said nothing at first. He merely grabbed hold of each slave's
face by the chin and tilted our heads back and forth with authority.
In some cases, he would then grab a slave by the shirt and pull them
forward. Choosing them.
then came my turn.
I had fear, I refused to show it. If I were to be selected for death,
or whatever fate awaited me – so be it. Hunter had died for
less. The witcher grabbed hold of my chin and flailed my head about.
His eyes stared through me with bastard conviction. Finally, with a
thick glove that was spiked by the thorns of a devil, he pulled me
one is strong.” he said.
to my surprise, he sounded human.
His throat was deep and was certainly here on business, but I was
more like him than I expected.
me, slave,” he said. Staring into my soul. “I am to pick
one more of you. Who here is of your same strength.”
turned with well-hidden timidness. Macho looked to me with friendship
and I knew in my heart that I should pick him. After all, he was
here, in this God forsaken place because of me. But there was also
Lenzu. A man who seemed to know so much about this place that was
still so very foreign to me. With his help, it was possible that I
could once again see the surface and return home. Finally, I glanced
to Tara and though we'd not formally spoken to one another, I had
certainly watched from a distance. She was extraordinarily passionate
about helping those around her. As a princess should
be. The thoughts of ape men eventually having their way with her did
not sit well with me, either.
I said. Pointing Tara out.
Macho lashed out. Much to the disappointment of the ape men, who did
what they could to silence him. “You're leaving me here? I
wouldn't even be
here if it weren't for you! We've been friends since-”
words tapered off as the ape men smashed a blunt hammer of wood into
his stomach. From there, they dragged my friend away. Ripping my
conscience apart in the process. I understood that my choice had
likely condemned him to death.
have her, too,” the witcher said. “That's five slaves in
leader of the ape men did what math he could in his head. I
understood at that point that our sorry asses were being bartered off
to the witchers. For what, I wasn't sure. But it hadn't been the
first time. The two haggling men were far too comfortable with the
ape man spouted off a mouthful of language that I could not
understand. But I did
understand what it had entailed.
ridiculous!” the witcher cried out. “I'll not trade three
of my horses and a hundred shinies for five
a translator among the witchers relayed the message. The speaker of
the ape men grew irate, as shown on his face. He'd not be cheated and
swindled out of slaves that he'd himself stolen.
countered with another offer and several tense breaths. I do not know
what the offer was, as the witcher did not repeat it. But he took it
as unacceptable as well. The stout man behind the evil mask looked us
up and down once more. Finally, he looked to the ape men.
tell him that I'll surrender two horses and eighty shinies. Nothing
more. He either takes my offer or we will begin dealing with another
tribe of Gorgum.”
translator gave the final proposal in the the ape men's primitive
language. Their leader not only grew angry, but he also began pacing.
Resting his hand upon the hilt of his sword, I thought for a moment
that battle would surely ensue.
Gorgum nodded in agreement and the currency of this underworld
changed hands. They were small and looked to be gemstones. Different
colors, but certainly worth something. The same fistful of shinies
would have fetched a hundred thousand dollars on the surface, but
here, they were much more plentiful.
is your responsibility now,” Lenzu said. “You watch after
her, no matter what happens.”
one day I will return for both of my friends,” I replied.
“Please look after Macho for me.”
smiled at the gesture, but I could see supreme doubt in his eyes.
This was goodbye forever, as far as he was concerned, and he
certainly knew more about this savage land than I did.
fact that rested hard in the pit of my stomach.
The journey had been
much longer than I had expected. Much of it was due to us walking,
rather than riding a horse. When I first set off on what would become
the journey of my lifetime, I didn't believe it was possible. No one
could survive underground.
But I was truly
Not only did I now
believe that Hitler's escape to Argentina and subsequently his escape
to a world beneath the surface was possible – I thought that it
was very likely. The feared, in how they had been described to me,
fit the profile of what we'd known as the Nazi regime, right down to
the standard MP 40 machine gun.
importance of that a thousand times over was my belief that this
strange, prehistoric world in front of me had been here the entire
time. Beneath my own feet as I served my country with military
service and walked the streets of countless cities across our globe.
I found it humorous that mankind has long been obsessed with the idea
of finding life on another planet, even going so far as to develop
space ships to get us there. When, this whole time, a world undreamed
of was right below us.
As we traveled with the
witchers, my eyes saw the purest waters, mountains of sand, forests
as far as my eyes could see and even strange creatures that lurked
about with curiosity. None of which I'd ever seen before.
some, there was
a resemblance to the animals of the surface. Tiger-like creatures
hovered near the tree line of the jungle and looked for a moment. Yet
they left us be, either from a primal understanding that they would
be bested or from a pure lack of interest. At times, I could see what
appeared to be fish zipping from the ocean water and splashing back
in moments later. But I also saw things that frightened
me. Creatures much to large to be considered normal sea life back on
our short time in passing the sand dunes, I spotted a very strange
creature that could best be described as a mixed breed of scorpion
and giant crab. Even the witchers became nervous – I could
sense it on them. I also believe that it's the reason we left the
sight of dunes shortly after, as sand stretched the length of the
witchers were very strange men indeed, but I also found them to be a
fair people. Much more so than the ape men had been. They shared
equal portions of food and water with us. Indeed, during times of
rest, the witchers would build a large fire and have us sit with
them. For many days, none of us had the courage to speak. We listened
to them speak amongst themselves in our language, though they never
spoke of us.
is to become of us?” I asked.
bright orange light of flame licked our faces and I believe the rest
of the slaves felt afraid for me. I had likely sealed my own doom by